By Robert F. Dorr, author of Hitler’s Time Machine
EVEN 70 YEARS after his death, Adolf Hitler remains one of the most reviled figures in all of history. Yet he still continues to fascinate. When I wrote my Second World War alternate history Hitler’s Time Machine, I discovered a range of real-world facts about the notorious Nazi dictator that struck me as curious, if not downright bizarre. Here’s some of what I discovered:
Hitler was quite tall
Although people often remember his as “The Little Austrian Corporal”, Adolf Hitler was much taller than many people realize. He was 5-foot-10 and weighed 155 pounds.
Hitler briefly lived in the U.K.
Prior to As an unemployed 23-year-old, Hitler left his native Austria and took up residence with his half-brother Alois and his Irish wife Bridget Dowling in a three-bedroom flat on Liverpool’s Upper Stanhope Street. According to The Daily Mail, the young Dublin woman suspected that her husband’s ne’er–do–well sibling had left his homeland to avoid conscription. Ironically, the apartment was destroyed by the Luftwaffe during a raid on the English port city 30 years later.
Hitler was a war hero
With the outbreak of war in 1914, Hitler joined the German army’s 6th Bavarian Reserve Division and saw action at Ypres, Arras, Passchendaele and the Somme. He was wounded in action on at least two occasions and won the Iron Cross 2nd Class – his commanding officer, a Jewish lieutenant named Hugo Gutman, put him in for the citation. By 1918, Hitler had been promoted to corporal.
Hitler was a millionaire
By the time Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933, his book Mein Kampf was a runway best seller. Written following his abortive Beer Hall Putsch, the Nazi manifesto was published in 1925. Within a few years, it had sold almost a quarter-of-a-million copies, netting the one-time tramp a cool 400,000RM (equal to $8 million today).
Hitler was rather bashful
The Führer was extremely modest, particularly around doctors. According to Thomas Fuchs, author of A Concise Biography of Adolf Hitler (New York: Penguin Group, 2000), “his personal peculiarities included a refusal to undress for medical examinations.”
Postwar documents captured by the Allies reveal that the Nazi dictator underwent numerous examinations by his personal physician Theodor Morrell and others.
The Führer did not like close contact with, or examination by, physicians but recognized that it was sometimes necessary, especially as his health began to decline in 1944.
Hitler also wore nightclothes and long underwear, even in the heat of summer.
Hitler had a few things to learn about geography.
When the Allies were mapping out the post war world at Casablanca, neither the Führer nor his henchmen realized the famous summit was actually taking place in French Morocco. As John Toland wrote in Adolf Hitler (New York: Doubleday, 1976), “the Germans believed Casablanca was the code name for the White House and that the conference had taken place in Washington.” The word Casablanca in Spanish means “white house”.
Hitler’s best friend was his pilot
Despite famously holding court with his inner circle regularly (usually after late suppers), Hitler had virtually no friends in the usual sense of the term. The closest person to him was probably his personal pilot, Hans Baur. A First World War flying ace, he was also the commander of the Reich’s VIP air transport unit.
Glen Sweeting, author of several biographies of SS-Gruppenführer Baur (1897-1993) said in an interview for this article that Baur and his wife Maria “dined with Hitler every time they had he chance.” Hitler was best man at the pilot’s second marriage, circa. 1937. Said Sweeting, “Baur spoke very fondly of Adolf Hitler and was a staunch believer and loyalist every day of his life.”
Sorry folks, Hitler wasn’t gay
Although urban mythology holds that Hitler was a closeted homosexual, the evidence is overwhelming—in journals, diaries and captured documents—that Hitler was indeed interested in women. Before rising to power, he became infatuated with his own half niece Geli Raubal, 19 years his junior. Despite this, he and his consort Eva Braun actually had separate but adjacent bedrooms at the Wolfsschanze or “Wolf’s Lair”, Hitler’s field headquarters in Rastenberg, East Prussia (present day Poland).
Hitler liked to sleep in
Hitler’s strange hours were a drain on everyone around him. The Führer typically awoke at 11 a.m. and kept those around him awake long into the night. He often took his meals after midnight, and went to bed at 4:00 a.m. As the war dragged on, Hitler spent little time in Berlin, preferring to run the war from the Wolf’s Lair.
Hitler was fast asleep when news of the Allied landings at Normandy reached his command center on June 6, 1944. In fact, his own generals were unable to rouse him in the critical opening hours of D-Day. When I wrote my alternate history, Hitler’s Time Machine, I learned from officer’s accounts that by the time Hitler arose after at mid-day, opportunities for key decisions had already been lost.
Hitler ate about two pounds of chocolate every day
A vegetarian who despised cigarette smoke and slept poorly, Hitler consumed a kilogram, or about two pounds, of chocolate, usually in the form of pralines, every day.
A lot of stuff isn’t true
Seeking historical accuracy for my alternate history “Hitler’s Time Machine,” I researched the Nazi anti-gravity machine Die Glocke (the bell), the secret Nazi base in Antarctica, a wonder weapon designed to suck oxygen from the atmosphere, a colossal aircraft shaped like a flying saucer, and, of course, Hitler’s escape to Argentina via U-boat after the war.
None of these things happened. Hundreds of sources yielded enough evidence to debunk every one of these conspiracy theories.
I did confirm, however, that at least one German scientist speculated about time travel.
Hitler’s Time Machine is available directly from the author (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. (703) 264-8950) and in Kindle or hard copy from Amazon in the United States. Canadians should click here and for our British friends, visit this link.